Mudslinging match tarnishing country’s image

By: Ashraf Mumtaz      Published: 02:50 PM, 20 Jan, 2021
Mudslinging match tarnishing country’s image

Parties in the Pakistan Democratic Movement on Tuesday protested in front of the Election Commission of Pakistan in Islamabad mainly to demand a long-pending decision on the foreign funding allegations against the PTI, of which Prime Minister Imran Khan is the chairman.

PML-N’s de facto chief Maryam Nawaz alleged in her address that Imran Khan received funds even from Israel and India for use against the PML-N government. She even named the individuals from both the enemy countries who provided the funds through hundi, not banking channels.

PDM President Maulana Fazlur Rehman, who is also head of a religious party, JUI, alleged that an incompetent person was made ruler (as a result of the 2018 elections) because this fool will remain in the front and those powerful institutions would rule (in the back). He also labelled Imran Khan as an agent of the Jews. 

As the protest came to an end ministers started addressing news conferences, reiterating similar allegations against the PML-N, PPP and the JUI leaders.

Unfortunately, each party portrays itself as the most honest, model of integrity and the opponents as criminals, dishonest and fraudsters.  

The mudslinging match will continue at all fora even in days ahead, further tarnishing the image of the Islamic republic and all its leaders. The dirty game is going on at a time when the common man’s problems are multiplying every day and the green passport is losing respect in the world.   

What is very disturbing is the consistent silence of the institutions that are supposed to judge between the truth and falsehood and take steps against working against the country’s interests. As a result, the nation doesn’t know who is lying, speaking half-truths or truths.

Whatever the veracity of allegations the only thing that can be said without iota of doubt is that the country’s system is dysfunctional and no institution, including the judiciary, is performing its duties. 

Somebody must point out that those who participated in Tuesday’s rally included legislators who have failed to play an effective role in parliament, which is the proper forum for taking up matters of all sorts.

People elect their representatives to have their problems addressed. But, unluckily, this is exactly what elected representatives on both sides of the aisle are not doing.

Since opposition parties are using roads to voice their demands the parliament has practically become redundant. 

If the parties think this is the right way, then there is no need for elected assemblies – and billions being spent to pay salaries and other allowances of the so-called legislators can be saved.

The best course is that the parliament should be given its due importance. Unless the elected houses are given respect, the vote will not get ‘izzat’ the PDM leaders claim to be working for. Both are interlinked.

In the prevailing situation, it will be the right course if a joint session of parliament is convened to identify all thorny problems facing the country. Legislators should come up with ideas to control prices, repay heaps of foreign debts, promote industrialization, rein in unemployment and improve the country’s image in the comity of nations. Only then the elected representatives can justify their remunerations and discharge their obligations towards voters. 

But, it appears, parties in the PDM neither have a clear agenda nor strategy to achieve its goals. 

Sometimes they seek fresh elections and then leaders of some important parties suggest that Imran Khan should be ousted through a no-confidence vote. 

These are totally different approaches. 

A no-trust motion against the premier, whether it succeeds or not, amounts to recognizing the elected houses as legitimate.

And if the parties in the opposition alliance are not clear on the legitimacy of the assemblies, then there is little justification for a movement against them. 

There is no logic in parties’ participation in the Senate elections to be held in March if the credentials of the assemblies are doubtful. The parties that plan to put up their candidates in the Senate elections can be rightfully asked how those elected by the illegitimate assemblies be legitimate representatives? Likewise, those elected in by-elections will have no representative character. 

The PDM’s demand for free, fair and transparent elections appears nothing more than a farce after the intra-party election results of some important parties. Same office-bearers have been elected unopposed, which means family hold on these parties will continue in the times ahead.

No common man, irrespective of his/her eligibility, competence or experience can even dream of ever heading a party. The present leaders’ grandchildren and then their grandchildren will lead the parties in the distant future. 

Are parties in the opposition calling for this kind of transparent, fair elections?